19 March 2012

in the beginning was the line

I am pleased that, concerned to get my soul back into painting after a nasty period of illness ... and thus, hopefully, into the novel, I went to a weekend art workshop by Tracy Verdugo, an effervescent painter in the Jervis Bay area, a style of workshop Tracy will also conduct in the US (see Tracy's blog at link).

in the beginning was the line
Click on any image to see a gallery of all images, enlarged. 
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The weekend was excellent... I was lone male among 13 women, though that inauspicious-sounding ratio was much the same as I experienced as an arts student in the early 1960s. And as I remarked at the end of the weekend, to have been painting a female nude in such company was a little daunting... though it might have been more daunting in a male group.

It was a supportive group. Painting is a lonely business even in company, there are moments when your work is something you want to turn to the wall, out of sight: as I did at the end of day one with mine (separate blog entry follows).

There was some evident influence from Tracy's style
— but being urged to work and work 
on one large canvas over two days
individuality emerged...

Tracy's technique for building a collaborative workshop was excellent. I don't plan to reveal her technique here. Some participants were experience painters and painting teachers, some had never touched a brush to paper. We were encouraged to begin with confidence just to build lines on canvas, interacting happily with each other's 'lines'. Fundamental to success was Tracy's positive energy and constant empathy and encouragement. Without which nothing. I heard someone speaking of being in an art class where the teacher constantly urged people to do something different, to get out of where they were. Well, this was pretty much the opposite, with constant encouragement to delve deeper in what we were, what we saw, what we felt, what we wanted.

The workshop was in the small stables at Worrowing.

Mood is lifted as you arrive 
by the jaunty security honchos at the gate, from Ironbark Security

The stables protective from weather, small enough but large enough
and lots of indirect light from huge doors and windows

There were moments in my work where going fishing seemed a better option

and these bipeds of the horse paddock watching me clean brushes 
seemed to say in a lazy way:
"Hey, get over it, just enjoy, the grass is green, come snooze!"

It was a wet weekend 
but we had good interludes to help work dry in the sun
(everyone seemed to put their work through half a dozen evolutions)
and see things in a different light

SIDEBAR- I am reminded of this excellent advice:
"We must be as courteous to a man as we are to a picture,
which we are willing to give the advantage of a good light." 

We did several smaller tasks and minor works for diverse experience... especially experience in chucking paint and other media around. Also in framing and trimming down elements of larger work:

At the end of the weekend we got to speak of our experiences and show what we had done. Here are some images that speak for themselves... lots of desire to "put it in the garage" to which Tracy's reply:
"No, hang it where you can reflect on it, don't tell visitors whose work it is, wait for their comments."
And note that a lot of the following remain works-in-progress, with determination to work on.

And so much variety...